Curzon Ashton 0 AFC Fylde 2

Ben Holmes
Ben Holmes
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Richie Baker and Dom Collins each scored their first league goal for a Fylde side who took the points comfortably in Ashton-under-Lyne.

Two goals in the first 20 minutes sealed this third successive win which lifts Fylde into the top-four in Vanarama National North going into today’s home clash with Stockport County (3pm).

A Curzon Ashton side who played the final half-hour with 10 men rarely threatened, meaning Fylde could afford to squander chances to increase their tally.

Manager Dave Challinor gave starts to Matt Blinkhorn and Baker, while new signings Dylan Versallo and Huddersfield Town midfielder Ben Holmes also featured in the squad for the first time.

Before the game there was a minute’s silence for the victims of the Shoreham air crash.

The hosts are without a win this season but started brightly, with captain Alex Brown firing narrowly wide from18 yards inside the first minute.

Two minutes later, Joe Guest fired way over but Curzon found themselves behind after only eight minutes.

A handball gave the referee no option but to point to the spot and Baker sent the keeper the wrong way with a perfect penalty low into the bottom left corner.

Curzon responded by forcing two corners in quick succession but Matthew Warburton’s resulting shot was high and wide.

Dion Charles’ persistence forced successive corners, the second of which was whipped in to the waiting Collins at the back post. The ball found the roof of the net off his thigh and the Coasters were in control.

The hosts showed their frustration by picking up two bookings in quick succession.

First in the book was ex-Fylde midfielder Liam Tomsett for a foul on Baker. The second caution went to Ryan Brooke, who tripped Charles who had escaped his marker.

The visitors went close to a third shortly before the break, when Charles’ low cross into the box was hooked goalwards by Baker but rebounded off a post before being cleared.

Curzon’s best chance of the half fell to Brooke but his glancing header from George Grayson’s cross was straight at Fylde keeper Ben Hinchliffe, who otherwise had a very quiet half.

Hinchliffe but busy but hardly overexerted at the start of the second half as the hosts again started brightly.

First the keeper watched Tomsett’s drilled 20-yarder all the way, then two minutes later Hinchliffe saved Niall Cummins’ header from six yards comfortably.

Any hopes of a home comeback were dashed on the hour, when Chris Rowney received a straight red card for a two-footed challenge on Sam Finley.

Tom Eckersley, another ex-Coaster, was booked for a strong challenge on Danny Lloyd, who played a key part in Fylde’s best chance of the second half.

Finley’s deep cross to the back post was flicked on by Lloyd to Blinkhorn, who couldn’t control his header.

Blinkhorn then made way for Danny Rowe in a double substitution which also saw Holmes replace Lloyd, and the debutant should have scored within seconds.

Baker’s low cross eluded the defence but Holmes miskicked from six yards, enabling the keeper to gather.

At the other end, Fylde’s biggest scare was saved until last as Brooke’s flicked header from a free-kick came back off the bar.

JACK CONNOR

Fylde: Hinchliffe, Hughes, Sumner, Collins, Hannigan, Barnes (c), Charles, Finley, Blinkhorn (Rowe 74), Baker, Lloyd(Holmes 74); Not used: Urwin, St Juste, Versallo

Curzon: Burton, Rowney, Grayson (Eckersley 61), Watson, Shaw, Guest, Brooke, Brown (c), Cummins (Burnett 68), Warburton (Lakeland 88), Tomsett; Not used: Mason, Atkinson

Att: 223

Fylde have signed 18-year-old midfielder Ben Holmes from Championship club Huddersfield Town on an initial one-month loan deal.

Coasters manager Dave Challinor said: “We needed to boost our squad due to injuries and Ben will be a great addition.

“He is very highly thought of and immediately caught our eye in the two games he played against us on loan with Hyde last season.”

Dylan Versallo was the other new addition to Saturday’s squad at Curzon, the young attacker having impressed in training.